The senior living conversation is one of the most difficult conversations you can have with your parents, regardless of how close you are or how well you communicate with each other. Unfortunately, many adult children feel so uncomfortable that they avoid it altogether, which, all too often, leaves decisions about senior living until a crisis occurs. This can not only limit your options for senior living in Hillsborough Township but also cause even more stress during an already emotional time. But these tips can help to make the senior living conversation easier.
The Problem with Delaying the Senior Living Conversation
While initially, it may seem better to wait to have the senior living conversation until your parent can’t deny the need for a move, it can actually create additional challenges and stress, such as:
- Not having the time to consider your parent’s needs and wants thoroughly.
- Under pressure, you may not be able to fully vet all your options for senior living in Hillsborough Township, and/or you may have fewer options available.
- Instead of you and your parent being in control of the process, your decisions are a reaction to the circumstances.
- If your parent cannot participate in the process, they may never feel completely confident in the decision. Or even resentful of it.
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It’s More Than One Senior Living Conversation
The senior living conversation is often referred to as ‘the talk.’ But instead, it should be more of an ongoing discussion because, realistically, the decision to move to senior living in Hillsborough Township is too far-reaching and emotional to be decided at once. This is yet another reason to talk to your parent before the need becomes dire.
One way to start the senior living conversation is to begin talking about the future in a way that shows your parent that you’re on their side and you want to listen, not make decisions for them. A good way to do this is by asking questions about their needs and wants, such as:
- How can we, as a family, help you stay independent?
- Do you still feel comfortable managing your medications and doctor’s appointments?
- Do you still enjoy cooking for yourself?
- Do you still enjoy driving?
- How do you feel about managing the house, yard, and day-to-day chores/errands?
- Do you ever worry about living alone?
- What safety concerns do you have for the house, if any?
- Are you able to connect with friends as much as you’d like?
- Would you like to have more opportunities to stay active and have fun?
- Are there any new hobbies you’d like to try or things you’d like to learn?
Again, you don’t need to ask them all these questions at once, but by showing empathy and patience as they answer, you may find your parent is relieved to have the opportunity to share how they’re feeling!
Communication Tips for the Senior Living Conversation
As you begin the senior living conversation with your parent, it’s important to be mindful of how you communicate, not just in your tone but also in the message you’re trying to convey. Consider these communication tips:
- Create talking points – It’s not ideal to wing these discussions; instead, write down (or at least think about) what you want to say ahead of time. It makes it easier to stay focused, and you won’t forget to keep on the message should the conversation become heated or emotional.
- Collaborate instead of dictating – The worst thing you can do is dictate a plan to your parent. It will immediately make them defensive. Rather, be honest about your concerns, but in a way that respects them as your parent. To foster open, honest discussions, they need to feel heard. It can be helpful to think of yourself in their shoes and imagine what information and approach would make you most receptive to the idea of senior living in Hillsborough Township.
- Focus on the benefits – After having these conversations with your parent, you likely have a much better understanding of what would appeal to them and how a senior living community might help them get more out of life. Whether it’s maintenance-free living, a convenient, active, and social lifestyle, amenities that make your parent feel pampered, a focus on healthy aging, peace of mind that support is always at hand, or all of the above, there are plenty of benefits for them.
Encourage Them to See for Themselves
If your parent is still hesitant about moving to senior living in Hillsborough Township, planning a community tour can help. In addition, sign up to attend events and/or have lunch with your parent at the community where you are most interested, if possible. This allows you both to get a true feel for the environment, talk to residents, and get all your questions answered. It can often go a long way in convincing your parent to move!